Sharing with Linux Mint 18.2 and Windows

I have an “Equal Opportunity” network. A few Windows 10 systems and a lot of Linux Mint systems. And I obviously want to share files among my systems.

Install Samba from 2017-10-06 09-25-01.png

Over the years and versions, Linux Mint has gotten more friendly when sharing files with Windows systems. Samba has always been a thing, but in recent versions, Linux Mint has made it easier to get it going.

Back when I was using Ubuntu – which Linux Mint is based on – in 2008, it was a pain to get Samba going. But things are better now. Now with Linux Mint 18.2 the dialog above is what you get if you navigate to Home and then try to share your personal folder, presumably for read-only, to the rest of the network. That’s a start. Look even an install button.

Well things are not as rosy as they seem.

Samba Install Failed from 2017-10-06 09-25-45.png

There are two things wrong here. One, the install didn’t work. Two, you no longer need to worry about adding yourself to ‘sambashare’. It is easy enough to install samba tho.

Samba from Software Manager from 2017-10-06 09-26-51.png

Just run the Software Manager and search for and install Samba. BTW, apparently Samba, which is the Open Source version of Windows File / other sharing is a play on the initials SMB, which is the name of the protocol Microsoft invented for sharing.

The good news is that when you install Samba and then go back to that share dialog you get:

Share Darrell from 2017-10-06 09-27-37.png

Ok. That looks much better. Click the button, but there’s another trick too. You need to change the name of the share or you’ll run into problems.

Share Change Name and Guest from 2017-10-06 09-28-16.png

Just add the name of the machine or something, any few characters, to the name so that it is not a username on the system. And be sure and check Guest Access so you don’t have to worry about passwords, unless you like to type them all the time.

If you do want to use passwords, then you’ll be prompted to enter a password for the “Keyring”, which is a secure file on the Linux system that stores passwords. Just use your own password for that or another one if you like. But be sure and remember that one too if you use one. I do not know how to recover from a lost keyring password.

Once you have done that, you need to make sure that your linux system and your window systems are on the same router, or that the routers are set to pass SMB protocol. I have two routers and both are firewalls, so if I put the Linux system on the backside of the second one, it can’t talk SMB to the other systems. Also, while you may have changed the name of the workgroup on your Windows systems to something other than WORKGROUP, you may need to change it back. It used to work for me to have my Windows systems on a workgroup with another name and then use Linux systems that default, as Windows does, to WORKGROUP and all was well. But recently that stopped working and the only way to fix it was to put all the systems on WORKGROUP.

Now that we have that going, we see this on a Windows 10 system.


There it is. The LMCRYSTAL and GBYTELM181 Linux systems.

So now you can browse to them and see this:


Just ignore all the dotted file names, those are hidden files on Linux. The highlighted folders are the ones that you want to look into to pull files off the Linux system onto your Windows system. On Linux, sharing works the same way. If your Windows systems share folders, then you can bring up a file explorer, go to Network and see them and pull files from Windows to the Linux systems.

So, things are getting much better. Except for the glitch with the automatic install not working, all is well. BTW, notice that we didn’t have to add our user to the ‘sambashare’ group. Just works. As does auto discovery of the windows systems and vice versa. That used to require fiddling with WINS. But now you don’t need to know what WINS is. Aren’t you glad?

BTW, printer sharing does not work as far as I can tell. Sorry.